In October 2011 the SECU Family House in Winston-Salem opened. It was the second North Carolina hospitality house project funded in part by the SECU Foundation, providing a 45-room facility offering affordable lodging for out-of-town families of adult patients being treated at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and Novant Health Forsyth Medical Center.
In the years since it opened, SECU employees and Advisory Board members volunteer a few times a year to provide dinner for guests. "We came together as a district to brainstorm on area service projects," Carleigh Mitchell of the Madison branch said. "The Family House was close enough for us to do dinner. Serving at the Family House would be a lot to do for just one branch – contributing food for around 50 people – but we knew the Rockingham County branches could pull it off together."
Kimberly Howell of the Reidsville branch said she sees it as an opportunity not only to serve the guests, but also to strengthen relationships with other credit union employees. Branches alternate the coordination and responsibilities of preparing food and volunteering to serve. "It really is a joint effort," said Howell.
Kaysha Lampkins of the Eden branch has volunteered for the last two years, "it’s important to me because these families are away from their homes and really need something to feel normal," she said. "We could easily be in their shoes, it’s very humbling."
Kathy Carr, Executive Director of Hospital Hospitality House of Winston-Salem said, "There are over 400 families of adult inpatients who are traveling here daily and have no affordable options for lodging. Many family members will end up camping out in waiting areas or driving long distances each day."
The SECU Family House is a great answer for some of those families. "I served a lady that had been at the hospital all day and had not had a chance to eat. She said she was so grateful for a warm meal," said Mitchell. "A meal sounds simple, but it is wonderful to provide a meal to others who are going through so much," she said, "a smile and food is a good way to give back."